LONDON: Consumers are unaware of their rights under forthcoming GDPR legislation, as a survey shows that 70% have not heard of the new regulation amid widespread distrust of companies holding individuals’ data.

While the majority of consumers are unaware of the regulation and the control that it will give them, 61% of respondents said they do not want to share their data with an organisation even if it directly benefits them.

The study from, a compliance platform, surveyed 373 individuals in the UK through online platforms as well as phone interviews. Its findings suggest that the regulation, which comes into force in May 2018, will emerge into a context of customer distrust and continuing misuse of personal data by organisations.

Some 78% of respondents reported having received unsolicited contact from UK businesses. In addition to the need for explicit and informed consent from customers before contact, businesses must also be ready to swiftly respond to requests for amendments or deletion of a customer’s personal data.

Half of the people surveyed were unaware that they could already request their data from businesses. A strong minority also reported suspicion around how and by whom their data is being used as 40% believe that over 200 companies currently hold their personal data.’s founder and CEO, Julian Saunders, expressed his concern in a statement. “Not only are consumers unaware of their current rights, most are completely unaware of the sweeping new rights they will have in only a few months. Clearly, many businesses are breaking current rules by contacting people without consent.”

The changes, which Saunders termed “the most fundamental change to ever happen to data privacy”, are widely seen as crucial to rebuilding broken consumer trust.

“Reckless use of data and lacklustre security now means that many people are unwilling to knowingly share their data,” Saunders added. “Ahead of the implementation of GDPR, where organisations will need to work very hard to continue to hold, collect and use personal data, this lack of trust and understanding of data rights is a huge problem. Many organisations need this flow of data to function.”

Recent research by WARC showed that data management in preparation for GDPR, and in response to negative publicity around data breaches, is now at the top of organisations’ agendas.

Speaking to WARC, Henley Business School Fellow, Ardi Kolah, noted the impact that the new regulation is meant to have in restoring trust. “This is about reputation, not regulation. It's about doing the right thing. This is all about protecting reputation.”

Sourced from, WARC